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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE LOVE OF GOD

1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

The Spirit of God manifests itself in His holy word - the Bible. And it is by His holy word that mankind is to test all religious teachers to determine if their message is true, is of God, and confirms Jesus Christ to be His Son, the Messiah and Savior of the world. We know God through the Spirit-inspired messengers that penned both the Old and New Testaments. And by His omnipotence, God knows all people that hear, believe, and obey His will, as it is found in the pages of His Holy Word.

If there is a central theme in the epistles of John, it is love; love that God freely bestows on mankind, and love that is due from, and given to God by all mankind that, truly appreciates, and accepts Him as their Creator, and as the Author of eternal salvation. Also the love required by God includes the love of brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as love for all mankind throughout the world, and in all ages of civilization. All of God's commandments originated, and are founded on, love. These are the words of the Son of God, Jesus Christ: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40; See Mark 12:30-31, Luke 10:27). Christian love is good; it is needed; it is essential; it cannot be over-emphasized; every true messenger of God must teach it; it must be demonstrated by every faithful child of God in their daily conduct of life.

Therefore, in the lesson text, John admonishes all Christians with this teaching: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Love is that emotional characteristic that brings unity to all of God's children, and secures them in His protective care. Love is that Christian characteristic by which one comes to truly know God, and accept Him as their Father in heaven; it is that characteristic by which God knows His children. Who can know God without loving Him? Who does God know except those that love one another? The answer to both questions is NO ONE!

Love originated with God - love is of God (Vs. 7). Love is contained in God's image - love is God (Vs. 8). Jesus Christ, His Son, as well as all men and women of the world, were created in the image of God (See Gen. 1:27; 2 Cor. 4:4). To be like God's image, all mankind, to be acceptable in His sight, must exercise love toward Him and toward all His creation. Every one that loveth all mankind as God loves them, must be born of God, and (know) God. Being born, as it is used here, is not the physical birth that takes place when one is born into the world. To be born of God, is to experience the new birth that was explained by Jesus to the Jewish Pharisee ruler named Nicodemus. A newborn child of God results when one believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and is born of water and of the Spirit (See John 3:1-21).

Jesus taught His apostles that the act of being born again required baptism (Matt. 28:19). This act of baptism is how one is born of water and of the Spirit. Water baptismwas obediently preached on the Day of Pentecost by the apostles of Christ. The multitude responded by asking what they should do, they were told to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (See Acts 2:36-37). Thus they that obeyed, received the new birth, which Jesus said all Christians must have. In doing so, they truly came to know God, God knew them, God accepted them as His adopted children, and God added them to the church Jesus Christ died to establish (See Acts 2:47).

This fact is assured in the next two verses of the lesson text: In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. In his gospel message, the apostle John, confirms this to be true: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:16-17). Indeed there is no greater love!

With the love of God, and of Jesus Christ, as our example, we ought also to love one another. Jesus told of the love of God for all mankind when He said that God maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (See Matt. 5:45). This is God's universal love for mankind. Jesus said, for us to be God's children, we must have this same love for others. How can anyone think they have the right to love others any less than God, Himself loves them? For the spirit of God to dwell in a Christian, love must be demonstrated toward all other men and women of the world. To prove our love for God, we must truly love our fellow human beings through charitable deeds of kindness and mercy. The verse following the lesson text tells us that No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12). Let the love of God dwell in each heart, and so fulfill His commandment!